Nestled deep within a colossal mountain range in the south, the Bramblefens are known of by few and understood by (so far) none.
In an enormous basin in the mountains, there is a swamp of considerable size. Despite being an ecological impossibility for it to exist, it doesn’t stop thumbing it’s nose at probability there: it is home to a unique strain of thorny vine. This vine often grows to be over six feet in width, and it has so far been impossible to measure the length of them. The thorns themselves are generally around two feet in length. At any rate, they are everywhere, and they make trekking through the Bramblefens seem like going through a cave system.
The unique ecosystem of the Bramblefens has also made it home to a number of rare and mutated plants, a number of which have interesting medicinal and alchemical properties. The most commonly known of these is the flower of the ubiquitous thorn vine. Like the rest of the plant, it is quite large, the buds being around three feet in height and half that in width. The petals are colored much like a peach, with a crimson head. The structure of the flower is similar to that of a daisy. Of the samples that have been recovered, it seems to be an effective ingredient in healing potions if used in small amounts, though it makes the potion taste like the imbiber is swallowing liquid razor blades. Unpleasant, but effective.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Bramblefens is the living creatures that inhabit it.
First and foremost among these is a rather large tribe of Gnolls. Though physically similar to those who live in more traditional areas, the Bramblefen Gnolls are very different in their culture.
They lack a written language, instead recording knowledge and the like through knots. The equivalent of a book is a large and very intricately woven tapestry of knots. The material most used for this, as well as their clothing, basket weaving and many other things, is the ropy fiber harvested from the giant thorn vines. Indeed, the vines are used for a huge number of things in their culture, including making weapons and traps from the hard points of the thorns themselves.
One of the few things that they can’t get from the vines however is food. It is for this that they have built weapons and traps, for the only game to be had is generally fairly large and tough enough in order to survive in the harsh environment of the Bramblefens. Crocodiles make up a mainstay of their diet.
Recently, the hunting talents of the Gnolls have been forcefully diverted to a new target. A new force has moved it’s way into the Bramblefens: Ogres. Big enough to tear down some of the vines, they have started to cause dramatic effects in the strange environment that could prove to be disastrous. The Gnolls have been fighting them as best they can, but they are no match in an up-front confrontation. Instead, they have started using hit-and-run guerrilla tactics. Yet despite their tenacity, hunting culture and knowledge of the terrain, they are losing.
It takes an inordinate amount of effort to drop one Ogre with the weapons and equipment that the Gnolls possess. One of the problems being that the ogres, by virtue of their size and strength, are capable of wearing much thicker armor. In most cases, the thorn-tipped spears and arrows of the Gnolls are simply incapable of punching through that much material. Unless something happens to tip the balance soon, the Gnolls could be wiped out, and the unique environment in the Bramblefens would soon follow.
On a final note, there is one area in the Bramblefens worth further mentioning. Located in the center of the basin, there are a scattered set of ancient ruins. Carved out of the stone of the ground, the heavily eroded structures bear faint resemblances to Dwarven work, though it would have to be truly ancient. It is speculated that the ruins have something to do with the impossible ecology of the basin, but so far nothing has been proven, and the one party that entered the ruins failed to come out.